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Michael Steele Laughs Off Economic Crisis: "The Malls Are Just As Packed"

I'm seriously starting to believe that we need to have a mandatory basic aptitude training and testing for public office: classes in history (both U

I'm seriously starting to believe that we need to have a mandatory basic aptitude training and testing for public office: classes in history (both US and world), basic economics (macro- and micro-), ethics, etc. The amount of outright stupidity amongst those who actually influence the direction of this country is completely freaking me out.

Luckily, as the head of the RNC, Michael Steele really has no influence, especially considering how many people admit that the Republican Party is essentially leaderless. That tells me that even the Republicans--who appear to champion ignorance to unbelievable levels--know he's a joke.

That's why I will only shake my head in amusement at the tenuous grasp on economics exhibited by the RNC Chair:

This morning, GOP chairman Michael Steele guest-hosted Bill Bennett’s talk radio show. During the program, one caller said he could “debate” whether or not the U.S. is currently in the midst of an economic crisis. Steele laughed in agreement and claimed that “[t]he malls are just as packed on Saturday.”

Of course, that's a leading economic indicator, isn't it? The population density of your average suburban mall? Let's not look at those ridiculous economic studies that show consumer spending 27% lower than this time last year. That's right, people are walking around the mall, they're just not buying anything. You see, Steele, walking doesn't cost anything. And maybe people are buying less because they don't have jobs:

Just yesterday, the Labor Department reported that 654,000 Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits, while the “number of people staying on benefit rolls rose to a record 5.84 million in the prior week.”

The DNC released a statement today, to express dismay at Steele's glibness over the state of the economy.

"This callous statement just proves how out of touch the Republican party is. Michael Steele may be worried about his ability to get a reservation at the latest DC restaurant, but there are too many Americans worried about just putting food on their kitchen tables. While the Republican party may think the pain being experienced by families - pain caused by the economic policies they championed - is a laughing matter, what isn't a joke is that they still continue to offer nothing other than those same failed policies," said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan.

But here's the thing that tells me that Steele is operating a few bricks short of a full load. How does it help Steele's party to try to insinuate that the economy is doing better? He's admitted in the past that the economy is a concern even when he's disputed the Obama stimulus plan. So by laughing off the recession and implying that people are doing well right now, is he not de facto admitting that the stimulus plan is working?

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